The LA Times ran a few sketchbook drawings about the transformation my Pasadena neighborhood goes through during the holiday season leading up to the Rose Parade. A village of activity springs up as bleachers and TV towers loom over the homes and apartment houses along Orange Grove Blvd. Homeowners line their front yards with folding chairs and camping equipment. Thousands of people sleep overnight to get a good spot to watch the parade on New Year's Day.
I usually sleep until 10 and miss the whole thing.
I get a call from Farrar, Straus & Giroux to design a book jacket for a novel by Jonathan Rabb that is set in Berlin around 1930. The story centers around a detective and a murder at the Ufa movie studios; the legendary director Fritz Lang is a character in the book. The whole thing reeks of German-noir and Ludwig Hohlwein, and the art director is thinking about something with echoes of Lang’s Metropolis poster.
Fritz Lang movie posters
I send this sketch, everyone likes it, and we try three or four variations of the guy at the bottom. I like to handle all the typography on a project when I can, and on this jacket, for a little joke, I add a small logo that mimics the Ufa logo and uses the initials of the publisher, FSG.
The design is a wrap-around image that shows nighttime Berlin on the back cover. I send off the file and look forward to seeing the book on the shelves in the spring.
A couple of weeks go by, and I get another call informing me that the editors are uncomfortable with the lettering, and they’ve decided to go with this version that uses a straight deco-ish font.
I go downstairs and order a gimlet.